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  1. #1
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    What should I think of these rides re:training effort?

    Training for my first century, which is in 3.5 weeks. Overall feeling good about training & where I am right now. But I'm always interested in feedback since I'm not very experienced either cycling-wise or training wise.

    First of all, the heart rate zones I'm using are below. Unfortunately a number of factors have conspired against me riding a good test to establish these zones and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get the test done before the century without sacrificing some other ride, which I'm pretty reluctant to do. So these heart rates are based on my best estimation of max heart rates from one of my very rare maximal efforts. I'd say, a very easy pace for me would have a heart rate of 135ish, a little effort 145ish, a pretty snappy pace 150-155ish, a real effort 160-165ish, and breathing hard 170-175ish.



    Sat I rode a 43 mi medium effort ride and here's the HR by zone over time:




    Sun I rode 75 mi (a personal best distance) and here's that HR by zone over time:




    Overall, what should I think of these rides in regards to intensity? I am riding two interval sessions per week on my trainer. My goal with the weekend rides are to get the miles, whereas in the interval rides I go for intensity. The long weekend ride I really try to keep the effort in check to make the mileage goal. The short weekend ride I'm ok with a little more effort but still try to keep things in control so as not to sabotage the long ride. Today after the 75 miler, I took the day off (lol, I was supposed to do yoga but yoga instructor forgot the keys to the studio, so that got cancelled) but I feel 100% fine, like I could ride however much I wanted today with no issue. I'm riding 4 days a week, 1 day yoga, 2 days off (or 1 day off, 1 day swim).

    Again, I'm feeling pretty positive & on-track. But I wonder if I should be putting in more effort, less effort, just keep doing what I'm doing?

    Thanks!

    H

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    Senior Member telebianchi's Avatar
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    You are 3.5 weeks out from your first century. You can already do 75 mile rides without killing yourself. You'll have no problem riding 100.

    I would just keep doing whatever you have been doing then go out and enjoy your first century.

    After that ride, pick a new goal and then explore more details of training based on what that goal is (more speed, more climbing, more distance, races, etc.)
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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Of course you're doing great. A natural. I think I get that you want to not just finish, but finish well.

    Do you have a time-in-zone chart or numbers for those rides? Do you have these numbers for say a 45 mile hard ride? A committed rider, pushing hard on a hilly ride of about that length, might see an hour of Z4, IOW threshold and sub-threshold.

    I think you did at least one TCC test, but don't remember if you posted the results.

    When I train for events where I want to do well, I hit the long rides as hard as I dare. Like I said on your other thread, if I can walk, I know I could have gone harder.

    My extraordinarily accommodating wife and I are training to do some harder tandem rides this year. We've just started serious training for July rides. This past Saturday we did 38 miles, 2500', with 1.5 hours in zone 4. We were tired Sunday morning, but we did 35 miles, 1500', with .5 hrs. in zone 4. Then Monday we did some FastPedal and lifted weights at the gym. Tuesday we take off.

    We'll gradually ramp up the mileage and climbing. Weather permitting, meaning not pouring down cold rain all day, we should be doing a century in early March.

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    using any measurable criteria helps get a handle on how 'improvements' are happening, even if they are not totally accurate for you.
    Whether 180 is close to your MAX HR becomes less important than what happens below that, over time, and over training.
    I've always felt that determining a rider's AT/LT and using the HR to work training around AT/LT improvement, has the chance for the most discernible all-round improvements for any rider not looking for specific results in specific disciplines.
    SO at some time, I would advise determining your AT/LT (but not with the method shown in this forum, my feeling is it can vary a bunch, depending...)

    Your number chart above - is not correct.
    90% of 180 is not 168, 168 is closer to 93.3333333333... %
    90% is 162
    65% is 117
    the other numbers need looking at also...

    but here's another way to look at training - in a very simple way.
    Long events, like a century, require aerobic effort. Going anaerobic for any considerable length of time will cut into your overall performance.
    Working to increasing your ability to stay near AT/LT will improve your aerobic abilities.
    Now for a well trained rider (not National class, but not coffeeshop bimbler either) with a max around 180-ish, an AT/LT of 160 to 165 is prolly a good number.
    On training days where you're doing rides of 40 or less, spend more time near that 160 HR. On recovery days (and there should be plenty of these), spend more time in the 120's and less time above that.
    If you actually do any interval days at or above the AT/LT, then they should certainly be followed by a 'recovery' ride day.
    Recovery ride days don;t need to be short. They just need to be at intensity that your muscles can 'smooth out' and truly get supple again from the prior exertions.
    Riding in the 130 to 140 range is a great way to see country and have fun riding around, but is the long way round to increased fitness/performance.
    Again, nothing wrong with that, if that's acceptable to you.


    EDIT: no reason you can't ride every day, especially when recovery rides are in order. if you have the time and the personal inclination to use that time on the bike, and it doesn't cause burnout - I ride.
    Last edited by cyclezen; 01-14-14 at 03:51 PM.
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    I think that you need to review your definitions of HR zones and your intensity levels. Your second graph shows a 75-mile ride during which you were in or below Z1 at least 90% of the time. This is not supposed to happen. It's true that the concept of HR zones is somewhat fuzzy, but, according to most definitions, this is just wrong. Either your intensity is low, or your zone cutoff levels are high, or, most likely, both. (judging by HR, I'm guessing that it was mostly flat 75 miles, and, for a flat 75-mile ride, average speed just above 12 mph is pretty low, even including traffic lights.)

    I'd adjust zone cutoffs just to make sure that you "speak the same language" as everyone else. In the previous post Carbonfiberboy mentions riding 1.5 hours in Z4. I'm absolutely certain that he does not mean that he spent 1.5 hours between 90% and 95% of MHR (which is the way your zones are set up). He probably averaged 85% of MHR or less. There is a HUGE difference between 85% MHR and 92% MHR. It could be the difference between HR you can maintain for 1.5 hours (you should be able to sustain mid-Z4 heart rate for 1.5 hours almost by definition) and HR you can maintain for 15 minutes. I would set cutoffs at 50%, 65%, 75%, 85% and 92%.

    You definitely have the endurance to complete a century, but you can still work on performance and that's where HR and intensity come in.

    It wouldn't hurt to do a max HR test, a lactate threshold / anaerobic threshold / functional threshold test, and set the top of Z4 at lactate threshold, but I understand that you don't want to mess with the training schedule. After that I'd start working on increasing time in (real) Z4 (both total and continuous).

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    Your number chart above - is not correct.
    90% of 180 is not 168, 168 is closer to 93.3333333333... %
    90% is 162
    65% is 117
    It's not using percentages of heart rate, it's using percentages of heart rate _reserve_ (max HR - resting HR) (I missed that myself when I wrote the post above), which makes zones skewed even worse.

    Using Joe Friel's zones http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblo...ing-zones.html and guessing LT = 85% MHR, zones should be: Z1 60..124, Z2 124..137, Z3 138..143, Z4 144..153, Z5 153..180.

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    It's not using percentages of heart rate, it's using percentages of heart rate _reserve_ (max HR - resting HR) (I missed that myself when I wrote the post above), which makes zones skewed even worse.

    Using Joe Friel's zones http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblo...ing-zones.html and guessing LT = 85% MHR, zones should be: Z1 60..124, Z2 124..137, Z3 138..143, Z4 144..153, Z5 153..180.
    Yeah, missed that 0% at 60. But that just shows how ridiculous the whole zone fiasco can be. 'Zone's are ways to fill up pages in a book.
    SO if I had a resting HR of 42, my zones would be lower, looser, larger range than someone with a 60 HR? So, if there is anything to say about resting heart rate (beyond relative numbers to the same person) then their assumption is a rider with lower RHR somehow should use lower zones ???
    kookage

    Joe Friel's 'zones' are set from AT/LT or power numbers - so yes, what anyone calls Z4 or Z1 depends. The whole 'zone' idea really started because coaches had a hard time conveying their ideas to their charges. But zones, if not properly interpreted also can create non-existent artificial lines/boundaries and keep riders from being able to truly visualize 'effort' and result.
    But that's a long conversation.
    Really, if one interprets what Friel is working towards with HR readings/numbers, is developing a program around the AT/LT, his LTHR.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    Yeah, missed that 0% at 60. But that just shows how ridiculous the whole zone fiasco can be. 'Zone's are ways to fill up pages in a book.
    SO if I had a resting HR of 42, my zones would be lower, looser, larger range than someone with a 60 HR? So, if there is anything to say about resting heart rate (beyond relative numbers to the same person) then their assumption is a rider with lower RHR somehow should use lower zones ???
    kookage

    Joe Friel's 'zones' are set from AT/LT or power numbers - so yes, what anyone calls Z4 or Z1 depends. The whole 'zone' idea really started because coaches had a hard time conveying their ideas to their charges. But zones, if not properly interpreted also can create non-existent artificial lines/boundaries and keep riders from being able to truly visualize 'effort' and result.
    But that's a long conversation.
    Really, if one interprets what Friel is working towards with HR readings/numbers, is developing a program around the AT/LT, his LTHR.
    People in most sports still have no way to measure power and they can't use AT/LT. So, we have "general purpose" heart rate zones (very approximate) and "cycling-specific" heart rate zones (less approximate). And, of course, direct power is even better.

    The single most important point in all these zones is indeed LTHR and you organize the rest of the chart around it. Whether you use % of LTHR, % of MHR or % of HRR, that is not too important as long as LTHR is in the right place. If you and I have the same LTHR and MHR but you have lower RHR, it would probably make sense for you to set Z1/Z2/Z3 cutoffs lower by a few points. But if your LTHR is, say, 160, the difference in effort between 125 and 130 is minimal so it's not a big deal.

    Disagreements really matter towards the top end, especially (like here) when one person talks about being able to squeeze 1.5 hours of Z4 in a sub 3 hour ride (and probably means spending 1.5 hours just below LT), and the other has zones set up in a way that his/her entire Z4 and possibly even the entire Z3 are above LT, in the anaerobic zone.

  9. #9
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    Your number chart above - is not correct.
    90% of 180 is not 168, 168 is closer to 93.3333333333... %
    90% is 162
    65% is 117
    the other numbers need looking at...
    Ok that's semi-hilarious. I enter the max heart rate into the Garmin & it does the math. I never thought to check the computer's math. I can't believe it's wrong!

    H

  10. #10
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I think that you need to review your definitions of HR zones and your intensity levels. Your second graph shows a 75-mile ride during which you were in or below Z1 at least 90% of the time. This is not supposed to happen. It's true that the concept of HR zones is somewhat fuzzy, but, according to most definitions, this is just wrong. Either your intensity is low, or your zone cutoff levels are high, or, most likely, both. (judging by HR, I'm guessing that it was mostly flat 75 miles, and, for a flat 75-mile ride, average speed just above 12 mph is pretty low, even including traffic lights.)

    I'd adjust zone cutoffs just to make sure that you "speak the same language" as everyone else. In the previous post Carbonfiberboy mentions riding 1.5 hours in Z4. I'm absolutely certain that he does not mean that he spent 1.5 hours between 90% and 95% of MHR (which is the way your zones are set up). He probably averaged 85% of MHR or less. There is a HUGE difference between 85% MHR and 92% MHR. It could be the difference between HR you can maintain for 1.5 hours (you should be able to sustain mid-Z4 heart rate for 1.5 hours almost by definition) and HR you can maintain for 15 minutes. I would set cutoffs at 50%, 65%, 75%, 85% and 92%.

    You definitely have the endurance to complete a century, but you can still work on performance and that's where HR and intensity come in.

    It wouldn't hurt to do a max HR test, a lactate threshold / anaerobic threshold / functional threshold test, and set the top of Z4 at lactate threshold, but I understand that you don't want to mess with the training schedule. After that I'd start working on increasing time in (real) Z4 (both total and continuous).
    It was 3500 ft of climbing, the times when speed is zero are not counted in the tally. Ave speed was 12.8 mph. I am slow, not usually that slow but I was pacing myself. Maybe I could have gone faster, next time I will know that I can. But for the first try at that distance I just wanted to make sure I got the mileage goal.

    Most of the "zone 1" heart rate is about 135 bpm. The max HR was 176 (very briefly, passing somebody else while climbing a hill). Ave HR was 137 bpm.

    Expressing this ride as HR zones was unnecessarily confusing, since it seems my Garmin is calculating the zones incorrectly.

    H

  11. #11
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Sorry about the confusing zone thing. I never really look at that so didn't notice it was wrong.

    Heres the 75 mi data:





    Heres the 40 mi data:





    Im going to read and assimilate all the above posts.

    H

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    Add me to the list who initially saw your HR zones as not making perfect sense. I too use a Garmin, but, have tailored my zones to my known personal limits and those of the training program I'm using. My max isn't dissimilliar to yours at 183. My estimated LT is around 162. The important part for me, is knowing how long I can exert myself at a given HR/zone. If I'm consistantly averaging at or above 162 I'm going to be shot in 2.5-3 hours. If I bring that down to below 157, my duration increases significantly. When I go over 170, I'm burning matches and need to be thinking in minutes. Over 175, I'm lighting books of matches and thinking how many seconds I can hold this and how it'll effect the remaining ride.

    As already stated by others: you're 3.5 weeks out and capable of riding 75 miles and feeling fresh the next day. If simply completing the century is your goal, just carry on with what you're doing, it's in the bag and all you could do by additionally challenging yourself is screw things up.

    If on the other hand you have a goal time or simply want to finish as quickly as possible, you have a challenge. The largest determiner for you and/or room for improvement may be about learning more about your personal zones and just how hard you can go for extended periods, pacing. BUT, experimenting with this so close to an event is really dangerous and a great way to screw yourself up. While short intense efforts can absolutely wreck you for a day, most of us are also fairly quick to recover from that form of overload. The easiest way to learn about your longer endurance is to practice or experiment there. BUT, overload in those zones and durations can take a long time to recover from. Typically 3 weeks or so for me. So, experimentation with such, so close to your actual event can be extremely disadvantageous. If that makes sense.

    Do you have any more experienced group ride partners of similiar fitness that are doing the event and whom you can use for pacing purposes?
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  13. #13
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    Add me to the list who initially saw your HR zones as not making perfect sense. I too use a Garmin, but, have tailored my zones to my known personal limits and those of the training program I'm using. My max isn't dissimilliar to yours at 183. My estimated LT is around 162. The important part for me, is knowing how long I can exert myself at a given HR/zone. If I'm consistantly averaging at or above 162 I'm going to be shot in 2.5-3 hours. If I bring that down to below 157, my duration increases significantly. When I go over 170, I'm burning matches and need to be thinking in minutes. Over 175, I'm lighting books of matches and thinking how many seconds I can hold this and how it'll effect the remaining ride.

    As already stated by others: you're 3.5 weeks out and capable of riding 75 miles and feeling fresh the next day. If simply completing the century is your goal, just carry on with what you're doing, it's in the bag and all you could do by additionally challenging yourself is screw things up.

    If on the other hand you have a goal time or simply want to finish as quickly as possible, you have a challenge. The largest determiner for you and/or room for improvement may be about learning more about your personal zones and just how hard you can go for extended periods, pacing. BUT, experimenting with this so close to an event is really dangerous and a great way to screw yourself up. While short intense efforts can absolutely wreck you for a day, most of us are also fairly quick to recover from that form of overload. The easiest way to learn about your longer endurance is to practice or experiment there. BUT, overload in those zones and durations can take a long time to recover from. Typically 3 weeks or so for me. So, experimentation with such, so close to your actual event can be extremely disadvantageous. If that makes sense.

    Do you have any more experienced group ride partners of similiar fitness that are doing the event and whom you can use for pacing purposes?
    Well, I have done a 58 mi ride over 4:06 at ave HR of 156. I don't usually do that, but that was last summer when I had somewhat of a lower level of fitness. My mileage goal for this weekend is 83 mi, I was going to do a group ride of 40ish mi with some climbing and then tack on another 40 mi in the flats on my own. I was planning on Sat for that. I guess if I felt pretty good, I could try to ride something semi-long on Sunday at a HR in the mid-150s and see if I can get 40-60 miles in at that pace. But I'm not sure what that will prove since 100 mi is a totally differen thing than 60 mi. Maybe it's not worth monkeying around.

    My goal for the century is to just do it, a 14 mph pace would be good but I'm ok with whatever. It's just getting that check in the box and the experience. The real end goal is a more challenging century in late April with 6000 feet of climbing. This century is just to see what it's like.

    I do have a friend who is supposed to do this ride with me but she's not sure she's ready. So it might be just me but I can glom onto some other group. Also I think there might be someone in this group I just joined, I'm not really sure. But I can pace myself if I decide what pace to ride. I have zero problem with patience.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    My goal for the century is to just do it, a 14 mph pace would be good but I'm ok with whatever. It's just getting that check in the box and the experience. The real end goal is a more challenging century in late April with 6000 feet of climbing. This century is just to see what it's like.
    H
    Cool. You have a goal, finish the century. You've already completed a 75 mile ride without exhausting yourself. Barring significant issue(s) you will be able to complete a 100 mile ride as long as you ride within your limits. Presuming your training plan included small increases in mileage over the next two weeks without increasing your pace, Stick to doing just that. The last week you'll probably be easing off a bit in order to ensure that you're fresh for the event.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    Well, I have done a 58 mi ride over 4:06 at ave HR of 156. I don't usually do that, but that was last summer when I had somewhat of a lower level of fitness. My mileage goal for this weekend is 83 mi, I was going to do a group ride of 40ish mi with some climbing and then tack on another 40 mi in the flats on my own. I was planning on Sat for that. I guess if I felt pretty good, I could try to ride something semi-long on Sunday at a HR in the mid-150s and see if I can get 40-60 miles in at that pace. But I'm not sure what that will prove since 100 mi is a totally differen thing than 60 mi. Maybe it's not worth monkeying around.
    I wouldn't recommend trying to "prove" anything between now and your event. Given your goal of comleting the century in good form I would recommend that you limit your distance rides to what most of us consider to be Zone 2 heart rates. Don't try to complete distance rides at the top of what most of us call Zone 3 or approaching your LTHR between now and your event. Riding just below your lactate threshold for extended periods can allow you to significantly fatigue your muscles to the point that they may not fully recover before the event. You could do more damage than good.

    It sounds like you've been following at least a rudimentary "plan" of some form. If so, stick to it. Regardless of the questions in your head, if you're riding 75 miles without undo duress, the rest of us are sure of your ability to ride the hundred on the day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    Working to increasing your ability to stay near AT/LT will improve your aerobic abilities.
    Now for a well trained rider (not National class, but not coffeeshop bimbler either) with a max around 180-ish, an AT/LT of 160 to 165 is prolly a good number.
    On training days where you're doing rides of 40 or less, spend more time near that 160 HR. On recovery days (and there should be plenty of these), spend more time in the 120's and less time above that.
    If you actually do any interval days at or above the AT/LT, then they should certainly be followed by a 'recovery' ride day.
    I do interval rides 2x per week for the past month and plan to continue another 8 weeks. I'm sort of following a training plan from the Time Crunched Cyclist. In that program, some intervals are more endurance oriented. Those I ride for x amt of time at an average HR of 160bpm. Sometimes x is 6 minutes, in which case I can do 5 intervals and feel pretty ok afterwards. When x was 10 minutes, I did 3 intervals and got it done, but it was hard. Today was my first day riding more intense intervals- 2 minutes each at a HR of 165. I did 6 of those and it was really hard, my legs were killing me at the end of each interval and I was really breathing hard. I'm not sure if that says anything about my AT/LT- I'm guessing it's around 165?

    So if 3 ten-minute long intervals at a HR of 160 was tough, I probably couldn't ride 40 mi at that heart rate. But I could maybe try 4 or 5 or 6 ten minute sessions interspersed with 145 HR periods. It's kind of hard for me to control HR too tightly in the real world though. If I'm going downhill (which I am half the time) I can't really get my HR up too high. But I guess I could try to punch it more up the hills. HR of 160 is an invorogating kind of tough, Im ok with trying to do more of it. HR of 165 is more of an "eat your vegetables" kind of tough, I only want to do it if it's good for me.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    Cool. You have a goal, finish the century. You've already completed a 75 mile ride without exhausting yourself. Barring significant issue(s) you will be able to complete a 100 mile ride as long as you ride within your limits. Presuming your training plan included small increases in mileage over the next two weeks without increasing your pace, Stick to doing just that. The last week you'll probably be easing off a bit in order to ensure that you're fresh for the event.



    I wouldn't recommend trying to "prove" anything between now and your event. Given your goal of comleting the century in good form I would recommend that you limit your distance rides to what most of us consider to be Zone 2 heart rates. Don't try to complete distance rides at the top of what most of us call Zone 3 or approaching your LTHR between now and your event. Riding just below your lactate threshold for extended periods can allow you to significantly fatigue your muscles to the point that they may not fully recover before the event. You could do more damage than good.

    It sounds like you've been following at least a rudimentary "plan" of some form. If so, stick to it. Regardless of the questions in your head, if you're riding 75 miles without undo duress, the rest of us are sure of your ability to ride the hundred on the day.
    Ok that all makes a lot of sense to me. My instincts tell me to pace myself, first get the distance, then pick up the pace. But sometimes I wonder if I'm not pushing hard enough. I don't really care how quickly I progress, I just want to do what I set out to do and enjoy myself.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    I do interval rides 2x per week for the past month and plan to continue another 8 weeks. I'm sort of following a training plan from the Time Crunched Cyclist. In that program, some intervals are more endurance oriented. Those I ride for x amt of time at an average HR of 160bpm. Sometimes x is 6 minutes, in which case I can do 5 intervals and feel pretty ok afterwards. When x was 10 minutes, I did 3 intervals and got it done, but it was hard. Today was my first day riding more intense intervals- 2 minutes each at a HR of 165. I did 6 of those and it was really hard, my legs were killing me at the end of each interval and I was really breathing hard. I'm not sure if that says anything about my AT/LT- I'm guessing it's around 165?

    So if 3 ten-minute long intervals at a HR of 160 was tough, I probably couldn't ride 40 mi at that heart rate. But I could maybe try 4 or 5 or 6 ten minute sessions interspersed with 145 HR periods. It's kind of hard for me to control HR too tightly in the real world though. If I'm going downhill (which I am half the time) I can't really get my HR up too high. But I guess I could try to punch it more up the hills. HR of 160 is an invorogating kind of tough, Im ok with trying to do more of it. HR of 165 is more of an "eat your vegetables" kind of tough, I only want to do it if it's good for me.

    H
    According to both Carmichael and Friel, one of the biggest mistakes recreational cyclists make is spending too much time in Zone 3 (at or just below LTHR). For the most part one should be training above that for power, speed, etc. And, below that for accumulation of endurance/mileage without accumulating excess fatigue.

    The exception(s) occurs as one's total training time per week drops in comparison to one's inherent fitness. In those instances athletes can afford to increase the amount of time they spend in Zone 3 to increase their total fatigue/stress in the limited amount of training time they have.

    The only reason I mentioned trying to do any riding approaching your LTHR was in an effort to possibly learn about pacing, IF, finishing the century in a goal time was an objective of yours. Since it's not. Don't try it.

    Save that effort for the event.

    If you have the Time Crunched Cyclist book you will have read how that approach is less than ideal for training for events as long as a century. However, the limited availability of training time for many cyclist means that a Time Crunched/HIIT plan may be their best approach. If you don't have the book and have been working from one of the many magazine or blog articles that Carmichael has published, there are a bunch of caveats that you may be unaware of.

    You have a plan. It sounds like that plan is working for you. It sounds like, with 3.5 weeks to go to event day, you're questioning whether you could or should be going harder. If that plan is arranged into roughly 4 week blocks you should just be coming off a rest week and beginning your last building block before the event. You should be feeling good and rested. Follow your plan. In two weeks time you should be only moderately fatigued and entering into the last week before the event. During which you'll be tapering down and hopefully arriving at the event as fresh as you were this past week, legs itching for a good long ride, feeling like you're ready to crawl/ride out of your skin.

    Does that help?
    Last edited by bigfred; 01-14-14 at 09:39 PM.
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    Looks like we may have both been typing at the same time.

    It sounds like you have a handle on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    According to both Carmichael and Friel, one of the biggest mistakes recreational cyclists make is spending too much time in Zone 3 (at or just below LTHR). For the most part one should be training above that for power, speed, etc. And, below that for accumulation of endurance/mileage without accumulating excess fatigue.

    The exception(s) occurs as one's total training time per week drops in comparison to one's inherent fitness. In those instances athletes can afford to increase the amount of time they spend in Zone 3 to increase their total fatigue/stress in the limited amount of training time they have.

    The only reason I mentioned trying to do any riding approaching your LTHR was in an effort to possibly learn about pacing, IF, finishing the century in a goal time was an objective of yours. Since it's not. Don't try it.

    Save that effort for the event.

    If you have the Time Crunched Cyclist book you will have read how that approach is less than ideal for training for events as long as a century. However, the limited availability of training time for many cyclist means that a Time Crunched/HIIT plan may be their best approach. If you don't have the book and have been working from one of the many magazine or blog articles that Carmichael has published, there are a bunch of caveats that you may be unaware of.

    You have a plan. It sounds like that plan is working for you. It sounds like, with 3.5 weeks to go to event day, you're questioning whether you could or should be going harder. If that plan is arranged into roughly 4 week blocks you should just be coming off a rest week and beginning your last building block before the event. You should be feeling good and rested. Follow your plan. In two weeks time you should be only moderately fatigued and entering into the last week before the event. During which you'll be tapering down and hopefully arriving at the event as fresh as you were this past week, legs itching for a good long ride, feeling like you're ready to crawl/ride out of your skin.

    Does that help?
    So for me, what is zone 3? Something like 155-160? 160-165? I can ride semi-indefinately at a HR of 135-145 with short bursts of higher HR, like 160ish. So should my century game plan be to just ride it mostly in the 135-145 range, with the 155-160 efforts as needed for hills/wind?

    I have the book and have mostly read it. But it's something of an evolving process. I read parts and think I understand it, then I have some sort of real-life experience that modifies my understanding & so on. I'm having trouble fully 100% absorbing everything just now.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    So for me, what is zone 3? Something like 155-160? 160-165? I can ride semi-indefinately at a HR of 135-145 with short bursts of higher HR, like 160ish. So should my century game plan be to just ride it mostly in the 135-145 range, with the 155-160 efforts as needed for hills/wind?

    I have the book and have mostly read it. But it's something of an evolving process. I read parts and think I understand it, then I have some sort of real-life experience that modifies my understanding & so on. I'm having trouble fully 100% absorbing everything just now.
    H
    The highlighted is some of the cool and fun part of all this training stuff if you get into such things. It IS an evolving process and it pays to reread the books as you progress.

    I have a copy of Friel's Training Bible next to me on the coffee table and am in the process of devising a new plan for myself. I've just been bothered to go find my cop of Time Crunched Cyclist. I'll provide you with a better response later this evening, probably while you're asleep.

    But, I'm 3 minutes from needing to leave in order to catch a group ride. So, gotta go! More later.
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    There are only about a zillion ways to do what you want to do. Oh the horror of being self-coached! It is hard. It took me many years to get a handle on what worked for me and the sort of events/rides I like to do.

    Let's say that your LTHR is 160. If that's so, then:
    Z4 would be 147-160
    Z3 would be 133-146
    Z2 would be 117-132
    Z1 would be 102-116
    I think that sounds right from what you say. Or close enough.

    For now, look in the back of your TCC book, at the section Supplementing Your Training: Endurance Blocks. That looks very tempting given your fitness, inclination, current progress, and 3.5 weeks to go. So 3 weeks out you start that block, then one week for taper. I think that's somewhat in line with the good advice of bigfred. I just happened to be reading about Freddy Rodriguez' training for an unexpected big race. That's what he did. Zone 2 and lots of it. Little gears on the climbs. That'll give you a lot of endurance and increase your fat-burning ability, which will come in real handy on a century.

    For the century pace, you might consider a default of 136 HR, 4-6 beats over that for short times, like bridging up or pulling. No HR over 154. Let them go by: you'll see them again. Sitting in, definitely Zone 2. Sit in as much as possible. You should be about 10 beats lower sitting in than solo or pulling at the same pace. Find the draft with your ears. There will be a lot of traffic. I tend to go out hard and then cut my pace way back. Grab anything that goes by that's 1-2 mph faster than your comfortable solo pace. That should put you in zone 2. If not, drop off and find a slower group. They'll be along. It's a long ride. Don't worry too much about the small stuff.

    The biggest thing you can do to increase your overall average is to reduce your time at the rest stops or take rest stops further apart. "There is no slower speed than stopped." - ancient randonneur saying. On a century, I normally only stop once at 50 miles, and adjust my effort to make that possible. You may not be able to do that, but it's an interesting goal.

    Solo or pulling or second wheel: drops. Third wheel or further back: hoods.

    Coming in to a rest stop, I take inventory and prioritize my tasks, then execute while watching the group I came in with. Object is to leave with or before them. Basically, it's pee, water, stuff jersey pockets, then eat if there's time. I might do some stretches if I feel I need them.

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    Way beyond the TLDR boundary,

    Unlike Carbonfiberboy, I love this stuff and can't imagine paying a coach to tell me what to do without understanding all the whys myself. To me, simply going out and attempting to do what I'm told would be hell. I need to understand what and why, how and when I should modify, what warning signs to keep an eye out for, etc. I ride for the sense of enjoyment and accomplishment I get and self training only adds to that.

    That being said. Carbonboy's delineation of HR zones and the fact that they vary so much from what I use highlights the difficulty of using the term "zone" with relationship to heart rate and outside of the context of a specific training program.

    First, if I read your earlier posts correctly it sounds as though you're performing your mid-week interval sessions on a trainer. It's my belief that trainers are excellent for this type of work, allowing one to precisely follow the prescribed time and effort schedule without concerns about terrain or traffic and allowing one to push themselves to their personal limit without concern of exhaustion and falling over into the path of a dump truck.

    However, at least in my experience, indoor trainer and outdoor cycling heart rates are not identical for a given relative perceived exertion level. Typically I would experience a heart rate approximately 10 bpm lower when cycling on an indoor trainer at a specific RPE than if I were to attempt to maintain the same RPE on the road. The reasons for this are debatable. The theories I've heard that made the most sense to me included the reduced inertia that one experiences on the trainer in combination with the increased reliance on the lesser muscles used to generate power through the entire crank revolution compared to actually riding on the road. There are of course exceptions to this. But, it may be important to you to note the difference if you're trying to train both indoors and out to consistant heart rate zones.

    It sounds like you haven't actually completed a formal LT or heart rate test. If you want to have meaningful discussions about your heart rate zones for a particular training program it would be very advantageous to have completed whatever testing protocol the designer of that program prescribes. But, don't worry about doing this before your event. And, to be honest, it's my belief that most low time beginners don't get a good test out of themselves anyway. Either they over estimate how hard they can go for the specified time(s) and go out too hard early, resulting in a significant drop in later performance. Or, they don't realize how hard they can push themselves and don't drive hard enough in the later part of the test. And, shy of sophisticated lab equipment and protocols, they're all just an "estimate" anyhow. And, we've already had enough posts on "zones".

    Suffice to say, it's helpful to know what heart rate you can maintain for an extended period of time. In a very broad general sense I'll refer to that as LT. While we prescribe nice, neat, crisp lines to our "zones" the fact is that the body doesn't have any respect or concern for our nice, neat, crisp lines. It (the body) has a spectrum of power and energy systems that it progressively moves through, gradually varying how it proportions it's reliance on these depending on the effort you're exerting.


    The further above LT our exertion, the shorter the time we can spend at the level before reaching exhaustion. As you've experienced, a plan like Carmichael's New Century is going to prioritize efforts right around LT for extended periods and not worry about harder efforts which can only be maintained for very brief periods.

    Then, they're including some volume performed at a level significantly below LT. While the former is intended to build your strength and power at LT, the later is building your endurance and ability to spend Time In The Saddle, which will be key to your comfortable completion of the century.

    The New Century plan doesn't include long Sunday rides. Instead, it relies on splitting your endurance training over Saturday and Sunday.

    You're adding in a long Sunday ride of increasing length as though you're doing a classic 12-13 week zero to hero program. You're already doing the "Extra" you're concerned about. If you do an 80-85 mile ride this Sunday and an 85+ the Sunday that follows, you're set. As long as you don't start too fast on event day, you'll find the other 15 miles.

    Assuming your 180 max/165 Lt rates aren't completely off and applying a bit of basic training logic, attempt to complete your long rides in the 135-150 bpm range. Your 137 bpm average is inside that range, but, just. Which would explain why you felt as though you could have gone harder. You probably could have. But, for the purpose of your training objectives, not by a lot. Just a little.

    If you're looking for "more" to do: How much time are you dedicating to "Fast Pedal" drills or cadence work? Improving your maximum usable cadence is an area that is easily trained, quick to provide benefits and doesn't result in accumulating lots of additional stress/fatigue.

    I hope you find this reassuring and helpful. If Time Crunched is your only training reference, I can tell you that it left me with plenty of questions. I was already using HIIT when I purchased it, looking for answers to some of the issues I was encountering. What I found was repeated references to hiring a CTS coach in order to learn more or over come the issues I was experiencing. If you're interested in self-training or at least developing a better understanding of your bodies energy systems and how to train for cycling I would recommend Friel's Cyclists Training Bible. It's a much more thorough book and will actually lead you down the path of developing your own tailored training plan. The catch is, that it's aimed at athletes who are wiling to dedicate signficant time to trainig.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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    Typically I would experience a heart rate approximately 10 bpm lower when cycling on an indoor trainer at a specific RPE than if I were to attempt to maintain the same RPE on the road. The reasons for this are debatable. The theories I've heard that made the most sense to me included the reduced inertia that one experiences on the trainer in combination with the increased reliance on the lesser muscles used to generate power through the entire crank revolution compared to actually riding on the road. There are of course exceptions to this. But, it may be important to you to note the difference if you're trying to train both indoors and out to consistant heart rate zones.
    My general impression is that it's usually the other way around for me - indoor trainer HRs are higher. (Though in relation to power, not RPE.) I'm inclined to blame cooling. If I go anywhere near LT for more than a couple of minutes on a trainer, I start overheating even with a fan on high setting 3 feet away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Coming in to a rest stop, I take inventory and prioritize my tasks, then execute while watching the group I came in with. Object is to leave with or before them. Basically, it's pee, water, stuff jersey pockets, then eat if there's time. I might do some stretches if I feel I need them.
    Two questions:
    1. Can I power this ride entirely off of Fig Newtons that I carry on my person? I'm figuring I'll need about 1400 cal if it takes me 8 hours, if I bring 1600 cal that should be enough and I could grab a little something extra at a SAG stop if necessary. That would only be eight packs of Fig Newtons which I can almost certainly stow on my person. I know this seems like a random thing to wonder about, but Fig Newtons are almost 100% carb, compact, easy to eat- they are my favorite cycling food. Also, should I be trying to drink Gatorade? I really don't like it (but can drink it), usually just drink water.

    2. Riding in a group- I'd rather avoid if possible. It seems to me like a lot of people don't pay attention to what they're doing. If I don't know the people, and they appear to be riding in a flaky manner, I can't be confidant they won't do something stupid. Is it completely unrealistic to ride without a group? My 75 mi ride was essentially solo- I did parts of it with other people but no drafting, no tight groups, mostly in a range where I was too far from anybody else to be taking advantage of anyone else's effort (maybe 20-30 ft or more spacing). I did hills and decent winds and it went fine. I'm ok with group riding if I happen upon people who seem to have their act together, or if there's a real headwind and I have no choice. I know group riding is the strategic thing to do if you're in a road race, but can't one train sufficiently to make it unnecessary in an untimed event like this?

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    Unlike Carbonfiberboy, I love this stuff and can't imagine paying a coach to tell me what to do without understanding all the whys myself. To me, simply going out and attempting to do what I'm told would be hell. I need to understand what and why, how and when I should modify, what warning signs to keep an eye out for, etc. I ride for the sense of enjoyment and accomplishment I get and self training only adds to that.

    That being said. Carbonboy's delineation of HR zones and the fact that they vary so much from what I use highlights the difficulty of using the term "zone" with relationship to heart rate and outside of the context of a specific training program.

    First, if I read your earlier posts correctly it sounds as though you're performing your mid-week interval sessions on a trainer. It's my belief that trainers are excellent for this type of work, allowing one to precisely follow the prescribed time and effort schedule without concerns about terrain or traffic and allowing one to push themselves to their personal limit without concern of exhaustion and falling over into the path of a dump truck.

    However, at least in my experience, indoor trainer and outdoor cycling heart rates are not identical for a given relative perceived exertion level. Typically I would experience a heart rate approximately 10 bpm lower when cycling on an indoor trainer at a specific RPE than if I were to attempt to maintain the same RPE on the road. The reasons for this are debatable. The theories I've heard that made the most sense to me included the reduced inertia that one experiences on the trainer in combination with the increased reliance on the lesser muscles used to generate power through the entire crank revolution compared to actually riding on the road. There are of course exceptions to this. But, it may be important to you to note the difference if you're trying to train both indoors and out to consistant heart rate zones.

    It sounds like you haven't actually completed a formal LT or heart rate test. If you want to have meaningful discussions about your heart rate zones for a particular training program it would be very advantageous to have completed whatever testing protocol the designer of that program prescribes. But, don't worry about doing this before your event. And, to be honest, it's my belief that most low time beginners don't get a good test out of themselves anyway. Either they over estimate how hard they can go for the specified time(s) and go out too hard early, resulting in a significant drop in later performance. Or, they don't realize how hard they can push themselves and don't drive hard enough in the later part of the test. And, shy of sophisticated lab equipment and protocols, they're all just an "estimate" anyhow. And, we've already had enough posts on "zones".

    Suffice to say, it's helpful to know what heart rate you can maintain for an extended period of time. In a very broad general sense I'll refer to that as LT. While we prescribe nice, neat, crisp lines to our "zones" the fact is that the body doesn't have any respect or concern for our nice, neat, crisp lines. It (the body) has a spectrum of power and energy systems that it progressively moves through, gradually varying how it proportions it's reliance on these depending on the effort you're exerting.


    The further above LT our exertion, the shorter the time we can spend at the level before reaching exhaustion. As you've experienced, a plan like Carmichael's New Century is going to prioritize efforts right around LT for extended periods and not worry about harder efforts which can only be maintained for very brief periods.

    Then, they're including some volume performed at a level significantly below LT. While the former is intended to build your strength and power at LT, the later is building your endurance and ability to spend Time In The Saddle, which will be key to your comfortable completion of the century.

    The New Century plan doesn't include long Sunday rides. Instead, it relies on splitting your endurance training over Saturday and Sunday.

    You're adding in a long Sunday ride of increasing length as though you're doing a classic 12-13 week zero to hero program. You're already doing the "Extra" you're concerned about. If you do an 80-85 mile ride this Sunday and an 85+ the Sunday that follows, you're set. As long as you don't start too fast on event day, you'll find the other 15 miles.

    Assuming your 180 max/165 Lt rates aren't completely off and applying a bit of basic training logic, attempt to complete your long rides in the 135-150 bpm range. Your 137 bpm average is inside that range, but, just. Which would explain why you felt as though you could have gone harder. You probably could have. But, for the purpose of your training objectives, not by a lot. Just a little.

    If you're looking for "more" to do: How much time are you dedicating to "Fast Pedal" drills or cadence work? Improving your maximum usable cadence is an area that is easily trained, quick to provide benefits and doesn't result in accumulating lots of additional stress/fatigue.

    I hope you find this reassuring and helpful. If Time Crunched is your only training reference, I can tell you that it left me with plenty of questions. I was already using HIIT when I purchased it, looking for answers to some of the issues I was encountering. What I found was repeated references to hiring a CTS coach in order to learn more or over come the issues I was experiencing. If you're interested in self-training or at least developing a better understanding of your bodies energy systems and how to train for cycling I would recommend Friel's Cyclists Training Bible. It's a much more thorough book and will actually lead you down the path of developing your own tailored training plan. The catch is, that it's aimed at athletes who are wiling to dedicate signficant time to trainig.
    I did ride a test, but it didn't go very well. I tried to ride it outdoors the day after I'd done a long ride. There was no wind at my house but when I got to my test locale, I had a crazy headwind. So I was riding uphill into the wind and it was a struggle. I was supposed to ride a second trial of the test that same day (per TTCC protocol) but my heart rate monitor glitched out. So from one trial here's what I got:

    Test Max HR 164 bpm
    Heart Rate Targets:
    EM = Endurance miles HR 82-150, Target 110-120 (seems way too low), cadence 85-95
    Tempo (aerobic endurance) HR 145-150, cadence 70-76
    SS = Steady State (power at lactate threshold) HR 151-155
    CR = Climbing Repeat (power at lactate threshold) HR 156-160, cadence 79-85 (less impt than intensity)
    PI = Power Interval (power at V0 max) HR 164- max, cadence 100 rpm

    Then I tried to ride a second test on the trainer and had some sort of over-reaching thing. I couldn't do anything at all on the bike, I could barely pedal. So I took off the rest of the week, felt like I was on the verge of getting sick all week, but never got sick. After that I was fine & continued on with my training. But I haven't had time for a second test. It's just that right now I'm either cycling or not cycling/resting, so it's hard to fit in a good test.

    I do also have the Friel book, I just haven't had time to read it yet. Quite honestly, I haven't 100% finished reading TTCC either, although I've read parts of it multiple times.

    I'm not "worried" about being unable to complete the century (although I'm aware that could happen, like say if I'm battling 40mph winds all day or I get in a crash). I'm also not necessarily looking to "do more". I'm just wondering if I could be training better. I know people who cycle but not really anyone who trains in an organized manner. So I don't have anyone to ask questions of. Except here. And I really appreciate the time so many of you all take in answering.

    I think I can just keep doing what I'm doing for now, then ride the 135-145 HR pace during the event. I can try a new trainer-based test after the first century to better train for the second. Plus I get my new bike in late Feb, which should make everything even better.

    I also like trying to figure out the training thing. It's interesting.

    H
    Last edited by Heathpack; 01-15-14 at 08:14 PM.

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